Category Archives: Manitoba Highways

20 Apr

Random Act of Malice

Seconds after leaving Deacon’s Corner today, I spotted a curious-looking item lying in middle of the shoulder.

12_knife
In my travels, I see plenty of junk lying on the road and in the ditch. There are times I think there is more garbage on the side of Manitoba highways than there is in the Brady Road landfill site. Unfortunately, this was no ordinary piece of trash cavalierly discarded out of a motorist’s window.

12_knife-2

As you can see, this is a steak knife, deliberately and carefully placed with the blade up, just waiting for an unsuspecting motorist or cyclist to drive over it and Saskatchewanize their tire. As I investigated further, I noticed that someone had kicked enough sand up to the base to keep it upright so the wind wouldn’t blow it over.

Inconsiderate behavior in this part of the world hardly warrants front-page news. This stunt, however, struck me as particularly insidious. The sick-minded individual who planted this booby trap on the highway might call it clever, but other words such as malicious and nasty come to mind. In any event, I foiled this person’s attempt at humor by kicking the knife off the highway.

Another day, another random act of malice in the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba.

11 Jul

Touring Altona, Winkler and Stonewall

Yesterday, I spent the day on the bus as part of a tour that included stops at tea houses in Altona, Winkler and Stonewall.


Tea, however, was not on my agenda. I had never been to either of Altona or Winkler and it had been decades since I had last set foot in Stonewall. When I saw this “Tea Tour” on the brochure, I instead saw it as an opportunity to explore all three communities. As I have long since learned, you are in charge of your own experience, not the tour company.

Bright and early, we headed south on PTH 75 before turning west at PTH 14.


I am old enough to remember when there used to be a truck stop at this junction.


Proceeding west on PTH 14, we passed by the nearby wind farm.

For those of you that may be unaware, PTH 75 used to be known as PTH 14 before it was renumbered in the 1950’s to match US 75 in Minnesota. Not only was it foolish to reuse the number for an adjacent highway, but it was doubly bad considering that PTH 14 actually follows Road 13N, one mile south of Road 14N. I have no doubt that PTH 14 and Road 14N are often confused with each other.


Moving on, we turned south towards Altona and the Jasmine Tea Room.






I used our half hour in Altona to explore the town.



The offices of the RM of Rhineland. Like many other municipalities in the province, their offices aren’t actually in the municipality that they serve. Details, details.


The Altona Mall. Yes, there is a mall in Altona.



Altona Civic Center.



The last three digits of this license plate were a welcome sight. Message sent. Message received. Those of you who know me may understand the significance.



As you would expect, highway signs were part of my agenda on this tour.


Some sort of sculpture in front of Friesens printers.


A fake German license plate on this Beemer.

Our next stop was North Wind Clayworks north of Altona, located on Road 5W south of Road 11N. Unfortunately, neither our tour guide nor our driver seemed sure of where the place was. Given that we were virtually in the middle of nowhere, however, one of the very few farm houses in the area was bound to be the right one. Luckily, they got it right on the first try.


First, I toured their well-manicured garden.

 

Their garden reminded very much of the Lily Nook in Neepawa.


I then toured inside the pottery barn.





With my well-used camera, I recorded the pottery demonstration.


After spending an hour there, we were back on the highway bound for Winkler.


Passing around Plum Coulee.

There is a bypass around Plum Coulee and Garson, yet drivers on PTH 75 are still forced to go through Morris. I know that it must sound like a broken record, but the logic behind the failure to address what is the Achilles heel of the Manitoba highway system continues to baffle me.


Approaching Winkler.

Once we had arrived, most of the passengers had lunch at Gingerwood Lane, conveniently located next to the Triple E factory and its sweet-smelling paint fumes. As you would expect, I had my own plan and got some shots before eating the lunch that I had brought with me at the nearby Southland Mall.




I didn’t take advantage of this “splcial”:


Hay, anyone?


In Altona, all the bikes that I had seen outside were not locked up. In Winkler, however, two of the four on this rack were locked. It is perhaps a poignant symbol that Winkler has indeed arrived as a city and not one for the better.



After nearly an hour and a half in Winkler, we were back on the road, this time headed north towards Stonewall.


We passed through Carman. It is a town that I imagine will soon be feeling the pressure of political correctness to adopt a more inclusive moniker such as “Carperson.”


In Stonewall, our bus pulled up two spots behind a truck with a sticker from Gimli Ford.


Again, message sent. Message received. You may understand. You may not.


We went into to the McLeod House, where I joined the group and had some tea.






There was an odd musty smell in the air and for a specialty tea house, I was shocked to hear that they only serve Red Rose. I had instead expected to be offered any of a dozen or more varieties, not to have less choice than I would have had at McDonald’s.


Upstairs, they have a gift shop.







This is the genesis of your future garage sale.

With some extra time, I made a brief tour of the town.




Do you need a “reliner” sofa?


How about some “stationary”?



Every small town in Manitoba has a Chicken Delight, or at least they did.



This location has since been closed and the building is for sale. There had been a time that a Manitoba town would have seen the loss of their Chicken Delight as a mortal blow, but with other franchises rising to prominence, it probably doesn’t even register on the radar anymore. Today, the presence of a Tim Hortons franchise is a much bigger symbol that a town has arrived, so to speak.



Parking restrictions in Stonewall? Can the crew from A & E’s Parking Wars be far behind?

I went off the beaten path and toured some side streets.




Alas, it was time to get back on the bus and return after a long and exhausting day. I was glad that I went and it was an enjoyable experience, even it was very different from the tour’s official purpose.

12 May

Dugald Road Smorgasbord

The amount of junk that I see on the side of Manitoba highways never ceases to amaze me. I have often been tempted to start a Web site called mbroadjunk.com and document the wide variety of trash strewn along our roads. 

Today at Dugald Road and the Perimeter, however, I spotted one of the more unusual refuse piles that I’ve seen on my two-wheeled travels.
From the looks of it, some hunter had shot some geese and packed his haul into a garbage bag. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, that bag ended up on the shoulder of the northeast corner of that intersection.
Given how Manitobans use their highway system as open-air dumpsters, I’m inclined to believe that this dumping was intentional.

Vultures and other creatures have obviously been feasting on the abandoned carcasses. Little remains besides feathers. The Dugald Road Smorgasbord is now closed.

Another day in the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba. Where people take so much pride in their province.

Or not.

09 Aug

Eureka!

I was on the West Perimeter Highway in the last week and I spotted something that I never thought I would live to see.
  

Not only have the lights been taken down at Roblin Boulevard, but all four lanes are open on the bridge crossing the Assiniboine River.
As I stopped to take the picture, I thought that my eyes were playing tricks on me. Fortunately, they weren’t.
All four lanes on that bridge are indeed open. The bridge that has provided quasi-permanent employment for so many workers is no longer a construction zone.
Further proof that Armageddon is indeed close at hand.
28 Jun

It’s Time to Go

For anyone who has travelled on the west Perimeter Highway (PTH 100) over the past three years, the seemingly never-ending construction on the double-span bridge crossing the Assiniboine River has undoubtedly been a source of immense consternation.
Delays associated with construction are a fact of life in Manitoba, particularly where the construction season is short. However, the fact that this bridge still remains under construction is nothing short of an outrage.
By way of comparison, the much-publicized bridge in St. Adolphe that collapsed was completely rebuilt in 18 months.
Today, “work” still continues on the bridge on the Perimeter.
Cross the bridge, however, and you won’t find any workers. There are just cones and signs telling you to slow down.
Scaffolding, but no workers
Despite the apparent lack of activity, a recent Twitter post from the official government account said that there was “no concrete timeline” for the restoration of four-lane traffic.
No further explanation was provided.
As I have passed through that “construction zone” over the past three years, I could not help but think that there was an intent to make this project into a quasi-permanent job.
More than a year ago, they actually dug up part of the shoulder to put this “Prepare to Stop” sign on what used to be a four-lane highway. There are stop signs on the approaches and a new traffic light on the approach from westbound Roblin Boulevard.
A good friend of mine recently suggested, half-jokingly, that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go through there in the middle of the night and collect all the cones.
It’s an idea that I suspect more than one driver has thought of during the past three years.
If there’s work that still needs to be done on that bridge, then they need get to it. But if they’re done, then they need to collect their stuff and move on. No one is trying to put them out of a job, but there are many highways across the province that need their urgent attention.
It’s time to go.
20 Dec

Virtual Drive Around Manitoba

For those of you who are interested in a virtual drive around Manitoba, here are some of my most recent updates on CanHighways.com:

http://www.canhighways.com/MB/23.php

http://www.canhighways.com/MB/205.php

http://www.canhighways.com/MB/422.php

http://www.canhighways.com/MB/428.php 

http://www.canhighways.com/MB/14.php

These shots come from separate tours I’ve taken to the Morden Corn and Apple Festival as well as to the Peace Gardens. There’s a lot more at that site if you wish to browse around.